With the AFL finals being conducted this month we are certainly going to see some rough & tough footy as the 8 final clubs strive to win the 2018 Premiership. At this time many local competitions are wrapping up & the footy at these levels will just be as intense & many players are likely to sustain injuries of the lower limb, especially the foot & ankle which are best managed by your Podiatrist, some of which are possibly preventable with the help of a Podiatrist as well.
Each year the AFL releases data on the seasons injuries and we now have access to many years’ worth of data on injuries. We can assume that the AFL data is quite like what we see at the local club level. Some of this injury data is:
- The Hip/Groin/Thigh is the most commonly injured area (29% of all new injuries), with hamstring strains accounting 14% of all new injuries.
- Injuries to the Hip/Groin/Thigh account for 34.9 (22%) missed games, with hamstrings accounting for 19.1 (12%).
- Shin/ankle/foot is also commonly injured and accounts for 26% of all new injuries. These injuries account for 42.4 (27%) of games missed.
- Knee injuries, whilst only accounting for 5.3 (14%) of injuries account for a significant number of games missed (37.4 games or 24%).
- Lower limb injuries account for 68% of all injuries.
- Many of the remaining injuries are thought to be secondary to contact, for example fractures of the forearm, wrist and hand.
- Concussions have been on a steady rise in recent years. This is thought to be due to increased recording and raised awareness of the effects of concussion.
SO, WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR AN INJURY BY YOUR LOCAL PODIATRIST?
As 68% of all footy injuries are of the lower limb your Podiatrist is best placed to take care of these. If you, a family member, friend or team mate do happen to get a lower limb injury on the footy field having the injury assessed & treated as quickly as possible by your local Podiatrist will give you the best chances of a speedy recovery & get you back on the field playing the game you love.
When you attend the clinic, your Podiatrist will take a thorough history & may even ask you to mimic the injury sustained on the field as this will help to achieve an accurate diagnosis. A detailed physical assessment will follow with a focus on the injured area, but an exam of the foot is always part of a standard Podiatry examination & may include video treadmill analysis & scanning of the feet to determine the correct foot alignment. Once the diagnosis is reached & if no further referral is required the treatment of the affected lower limb joint, muscle, or ligament will vary depending on the type & severity. Treatment may include:
- Ice or heat depending on how long the injury has been present.
- Strapping of the affected area
- Dry needling
- Peripheral joint mobilization & adjustments (FMT)
- Advice on rest, day to day modifications, time away from footy, what training is OK to perform that will not exacerbate the injury.
- Customised orthotics may also be issued to assist with correct foot alignment & this will also help with injury prevention & even better performance on the field.
Most footy injuries take several weeks to recover & post recovery a program of strengthening & prevention will also be prescribed to keep you playing the sport you love.